A Ritual Act on every Olive Harvest Season
” 150 Olive Trees Destroyed by Israeli Settlers in Burin Village south of Nablus Governorate “

A Ritual Act on every Olive Harvest Season <br> ” 150 Olive Trees Destroyed by Israeli Settlers in Burin Village south of Nablus Governorate “
On September 29, 2009, Israeli settlers from the Israeli Yitzhar settlement south of the Palestinian Nablus Governorate stormed and vandalized the olive groves of Burin village just days away from the inception date of the olive harvest season. The Israeli settlers using electrical chainsaws; damaged more than 150 olive trees in what became a ritual act for the settlers to do on a yearly base on the olive harvest season.
It is renowned that the Israeli settlement Yitzhar holds the most infamous and violent of the Israeli settlers of all. Their systematic attacks on the Palestinian rural areas of Nablus governorate are carried out under the protection of the Israeli Army who supervises the unleashing of the settlers against Palestinians properties, fields and against their very own lives.  
Israeli Army and Settlers’ War on Palestinian trees
The Israeli Army systematic attack on Palestinian trees has started with the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory back in 1967 and resulted in the uprooting of more than 1000,000 until 1999. From beginning of the current Intifada in the year 2000, particularly from the time when the Israeli Army started with the Segregation Wall, more than 1.6 million trees were uprooted. Palestinian cultivated lands with fruitful trees have always been a favorite choice of the Israeli Army to build the Segregation Wall on or for any other related act. The reason why trees are systematically targeted by the Israeli Army is because for what the represent to Palestinians; a bond to their lands, their livelihood and a bona fide proof of their indisputable rights to the land. The Israeli Army uprooting Palestinian trees does not only coerce its will on the ground to build the Segregation Wall or build/ or expand settlements; but it destroy the reason for Palestinians to keep on hanging to their lands.
The Israeli anti-environment policy against the Palestinian agriculture falls no further than encoded “Ecocide” policy of “State Vandalism”, which is an organized, predetermined eradication of trees, as more than 1.6 million trees were uprooted from the occupied territory since the beginning of the Second Intifada in the year 2000 until September 2009, which practically violates every article and clause of the International Humanitarian Law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.
The following table shows the numbers of trees uprooted in the various West Bank and Gaza districts by the Israeli Army and settlers in the period between September 2000 and September 2009.
Table 1: Number of trees uprooted from Palestinians’ lands by the Israeli Army and settlers throughout
the West Bank’s & the Gaza Strip’s Districts
in the period between
September 2000 – September 2009
WB Districts
Northern Gaza
Deir Al-Balah
Khan Yunis
WB & Gaza Grand Total
Trees include Olive, Citrus, Stone Fruit, Forestry, Date Palm, Banana, Grape, others.
The plan intact of the segregation wall is set to isolate up to 733km&sup2; of the West Bank land, and it has a direct consequence on the agricultural wealth of the Palestinians.
Total area planted with olive trees in the West Bank is in the region of 900,000 Dunums holding more or less 18 million olive trees. Total area of land planted with olive trees isolated west of the segregation wall is 90,858 Dunums, which is 10+ % of the total area cultivated with olive trees, holding approximately 18,17160 olive trees.
Even though the Israeli administration allegedly went on making arrangements to facilitate the olive harvesting process and securing and observing the settlers actions as to avoid attacks by settlers that have been going on in the last several years toward the Palestinian farmers much few of those arrangements took place or had direct or sufficient effects on real ground.
Violations by Israeli occupying force didn’t stop on the ground by building the segregation wall but was even amplified by the road blocks and earth mounds that are mushroomed all over the West Bank laying more obstacles for framers looking to harvest there crops of olives.
Settlers has even set more attacks on olive fields, ‘unethical’ such as attacking the natural reserve of olive trees, destroying, uprooting and overgrazing of the olive trees, usually under the protection of the Israeli Army, neglecting all calls for the end of such abuse by national and international community and from civil right and environmental organizations and movements.
The Israeli Army gives the Israeli settlers free hand to practice all kinds of violations against the Palestinian. Some of the Israeli settlers’ vicious practices against the Palestinians include but not limited to harassment, intimidation, physical assault & life threat, which resulted in the killing of few Palestinian farmers by the Israeli Army & settlers. However, the Israelis have been uprooting trees since they occupied the West Bank & Gaza in 1967 and they did so to build illegal settlements and bypass roads, but during this current Intifada, Israel, the Israeli Army uprooted trees alongside the roads allegedly because the Palestinian resistance takes cover in the fields.
The perpetual Israeli infidel of the olive tree is unmatched as it represents an Israeli eagerness to oppress the Palestinian people by hitting them where it hurt the most as this immense Israeli caused economic and environmental disaster, which will require decades and generations to restore.    
The Olive Harvest Season in Palestine
At this time of the year (October 15- November 30), the olive harvest season is launched in the occupied Palestinian territories and as every year the Palestinian farmers are contemplates on two options to go on with the harvest or just pass it over! Every year, the choice is obvious and indisputable; it is to go on with the harvest for it represents; a major, if not the only source of income to thousands of Palestinian families. At this time of the year, the Israeli Army along with cults of Israeli settlers escalates their intimidation of the Palestinian farmers by practicing all kinds of terror, which include but not limited to the following:
  • Impose strict curfews, which jeopardize the life of Palestinian who go out to the field   for harvesting.
  • Confiscation of Palestinian Identification Cards (in other countries of the world it may not mean much if a person did not have his/ her ID card on but living in occupied territories it mean immediate detention).
  • Confiscation of equipment in possession of the Palestinian farmers, incriminate them as trespassers and fine them excessively. 
  • Burn the entire crops or disperse chemical agent on the fields.
Can Israel Uproot Trees!
Israel is an occupying power, supposedly is bounded by various laws that set the rules for its practices in the area it occupies for the various aspects of the lives of the people that falls under occupation. However, Israel’s apathy of the international law is infamous and its ongoing violations persist to include:
The Hague Convention
The uprooting of olive trees or any other is an explicit violation act of the Huge Convention of 1907: Article 23-G– that clearly state that the occupation power is forbidden “To destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war”. The Hague Convention also contradicts and rejects the Israeli Army Commander Colonial Eitan Abrahams who said that “the Palestinian owners of the field that hold trees are the ones to blame when the trees are uprooted for not taking measures to prevent the Palestinian militant from using their fields as a cover for their escape”. 
Chapter “V”- Section “III”-Article 50 of the Hague IV clearly repudiate Colonial Eitan Abrahams saying: Article 50 “No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, can be inflicted on the population on account of the acts of individuals for which it cannot be regarded as collectively responsible”.
The Geneva Convention
Probably, there is not a single article of the Geneva Convention of 1949 that Israel has not violated from the time it occupied the West Bank & Gaza to this day. Furthermore, Israel’s violations in the occupied West Bank & Gaza maybe categorized as “war crimes” as Article 33 prohibits collective punishment, and land leveling and property destruction; a routine act executed by Israeli forces. Article 33 clearly states, “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.” “Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”
Various sources and field commanders in the Israeli Army stated that they have used an excessive force during the operations in the occupied territories where the Israeli Army surpassed the self-defense claim to carry out collective punishment and deliberate devastation to the economic resources of Palestinians civilians. Such procedures are clearly denounced as referred to in Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention “Any destruction by the Occupying power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or other public authorities or social or cooperative organizations is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations”.
Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 also regards the Israeli vindictive acts against the Palestinians and their properties are of the “Grave Breaches” stated in the convention and may constitute a war crime “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly”.     

[1] Each dunum holds an average of 20 olive trees

Categories: Settlers Attacks